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The Lost Art of Hand Embroidery

Excerpts from a meeting with Mohani Dhillon (50, Hemkunt Colony, New Delhi)

In my happy long ago childhood ,mothers taught their daughters how to embroider. It was a part of a girl's education. We learned a variety of stitches , cross stitch , outline, french knots, shadow work, satin stitch and many more. We worked designs on dish towels, hankies, scarves, table cloths, sofa covers, bed sheets or just on pieces of cloth which could be framed and used as wall art. These handmade pieces were used by us as gifts too, apart from decorating our interiors. We also knitted  sweaters , scarves and shawls for all our winter needs. My grandmother even wove and embroidered the 'durry'  that came as my marriage gift. 

In those days every girl owned an embroidery basket, which held thimbles, needles,scissors, embroidery frames of various sizes, various shades of coloured threads and pieces of fabrics.We worked diligently, embroidering every spare moment and when the embroidery was finished there was still work to do. It was still necessary to hem the product or provide a suitable edging. By then the piece was crinkled and bedraggled from all the handling, but when it was sprinkled and ironed , it became a gift fit for a queen .
Our generation produced tons of embroidered fabrics, which still adorn our homes and we still gift our next generation a gift intertwined with love. But the next generations is too busy with their mobiles , laptops and tabs to learn such a beautiful art. As of now , embroidery refers to custom designs, produced by computers on T- Shirts and ready-made wear and is produced by the machines. It is a thriving industry today but lacks the charm and warmth of love that was woven into the dupattas, kurtis, table cloths, bed sheets , wall-hangings and hankies that we made.

The Lost Art of Hand Embroidery The Lost Art of Hand Embroidery Reviewed by CREATIVE WRITER on October 08, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. I really enjoyed the interaction with Mohani Dhillon and thank whole heartedly Gurpreet Singh of 10, Hemkunt , for introducing me to such a talented person in the colony . It reminded me of my days before TV, mobile and laptop when I used to embroider, knit , stitch and engage is numerous such creative activities, which my children will never learn.

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